The Nikster weighs in with details of the recent IA-AMPTP agreement:
Wage increases for the IA Basic Agreement consist of 3% effective 8/2/09; another 3% effective 8/1/10, and another 3% effective 7/31/11. For Locals 52 and 161 (NY), it's 3%/3%/3% increases on the effective dates of those agreements.
Concerning Pension and Health:
The AMPTP believes the cost of its deal with IATSE amounts to an increase of about 3.8% a year for the next three years. But that doesn't include a $233 million savings to employers in Health Plan "modifications" agreed to by the union.
Both sides agreed that, effective 7/31/11, the Health Plan will change the standards for continuing eligibility from a requirement of working 300 hours to 400 hours.
As for other pension and health terms, the AMPTP believes the employers agreed to increase hourly contribution rates in the agreegate by 35 cents per hour as of 8/2/08; an additional 35 cents an hour effective 8/1/10, and an additional 35 cents per hour effective on 8/1/11.
Additionally, the employers committed to pay an additional 15 cents an hour if consultants' projections show that active reserves drop below 10 months but not earlier than 8/1/10. If that happens, then the employers will be obligated to contribute an additional 15 cents effective 7/31/11 which can go into effect earlier if the reserves dip below 6 months for active reserves and 8 months for retirees.
The employers say that, as an additional funding mechanism after those options, IATSE will "reallocate" an additional 1% from wages or their IAP.
Though TAG isn't in the Basic Agreement's bargaining unit (and hasn't been since 1985), a few observations:
The deal hammered out by the IA and the AMPTP is similar to the DGA agreement from January 2008.
The New Media provisions track the DGA-WGA-AFTRA agreements.
The percentage wage increases, coupled with the annual increases in contributions to the health and pension plans are competitive with or better than the other gt\uild deals negotiated this year.
The other element to consider: This deal was consummated after the economy started its tailspin. The agreements of AFTRA, WGA and SAG occurred months before the stock market and banking system went to hell in a hand cart.
On Nikki's site, from her November 20th posting, there was this comment from someone who claims to be an Editors Guild (Local 700) member:
I will bet our health care plan will be cut to the point of having to pay for our spouses, and children after August 09′. If the IATSE did not give this away, I will be blown away.
Here's some factoids to know about the Motion Picture Industy Health and Pension Plan.
1) The Pension Plan (there are two under the MPIPHP's umbrella) is funded before anything else. Under the new rules laid down by The Pension Protection Act of 2006 to be in the top-ranked "green zone" it must be 80-100% funded. The MPIPHP Pension Plans are currently "green"; 75% of all covered plans in the country are not. (Pension plan assets nation-wide have taken a beating of late.)
2) Health Plan costs have increased by 9.5% annually over the past several years, the funding shortfall growing year by year. Plan trustees -- equal numbers from the congloms and unions -- understood that "design changes" (a polite way of saying "cost savings") were going to have to get implemented.
3) Due to a strike early in the year, Plan contributions fell by four million hours, year to year.
There are no premium payments for members in this deal, nor for their spouses or children. There are higher co-pays for services and pharmaceuticals, but every health plan I know about, union or corporate, has been forced to make similar changes. Whether these changes are the ones that should have been made, or whether some other remedies should have been explored is a subject that could be debated for the next three years.
But every labor rep in the caucus room was briefed about what was going on each day they were there, the health plan changes were pored over for months, and the final package was agreed to by every bargaining unit member in attendance. Is it a perfect, ideal agreement? No deal that has to factor in rising costs and falling assets can be, but this agreement is right in line with every other that's been negotiated this year.
I guess we'll have to wait and see what sort of package SAG ultimately comes up with. Hopefully people won't be thrown out of work while the actors strive to get it.